Friday, November 9, 2018

18 Tips to Improve Your Holiday Prep and Cooking Times


The holidays are just about here and it's time to start planning for your big family and friend meals. It does not matter if you are a master chef or are new, cooking for the holidays is a big deal and can take a lot of time. Here are 18 tips that can improve your times. Some are super simple and easy, others are a little more advance and require certain features in appliances. By knowing these helpful tips, you can cut down your prep and cook times and spend more time mingling with family and friends.

Easy Cooking Tips
1. Plan ahead and read the directions before starting
It is always a good rule of thumb to be prepared before cooking. Make sure to have a plan of what you want to make and make sure you have all the ingredients before you even start to cook. Make your shopping list one week in advance and  add to it as you remember last minute things. Remember to also read the directions before starting so you know what's coming up next.
2. Prep food ahead of time
You can prep your fruits and veggies a few days in advance. Start by cutting them and storing them in air tight containers.
3. Cut food in smaller pieces
While you are cutting your produce during prep times think about size. The smaller the pieces, the less time it will take t
o cook all the way.
4. Use in-season ingredients
Buy in season produce and meats to save you money at the grocery store. The foods that are in season will have the best taste with less prepping or cooking effort.
5. Don't  peel your produce
Save time by not peeling your produce. Eating the skin in fruits and veggies can save you time, but will also keep more nutrients in the food making it more healthier to eat. Just make sure to wash your produce well. This can be done with carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, apples, oranges, pears, and more.
6. Make more for leftovers
While you're cooking for today's meal, you might as well cook for tomorrows meal too. Don't be ashamed, double your recopies so that you have plenty for leftovers. You can even use some of your scraps for soups and leftovers can be used to make sandwiches and other meals. You can even freeze some of the food and save it for a few weeks later.
7. Clean as you go
While you are waiting for your food to cook for the next step, take those extra minutes to clean dishes and cooking areas. Fill your sink with hot and soapy water. You can have some of your pots and pans soak saving you time after you eat your meal.
8. Pre-set the table
You can have your dining room table set a few days or even a couple of weeks in advance. This will get you in the holiday spirit ahead of time and make your room more festive. By doing this, you can have more time to chat with loved ones when they visit you.

Pro Cooking Tips
9. Shopping list
A pro tips is to have your shopping list by sections and then have it in order of where it is in the grocery store.
10. Memorize your favorite recipes
Pro cooks don't use recipes very often. You can save tons of time by memorizing your favorite ones.
11. Don't try new recipes for big gatherings
Be comfortable with what you are making and do not try something brand new for the big feast. You can try something new, but in advance. Practice making something new a few weeks or months in advance. This way you can tweak things so that you can perfect them for the big day.
12. Grow your own kitchen herbs
Fresh herbs can really give your food a more fresh taste and add flavor. Herbs like parsley, basil, rosemary, oregano, and savory are simple plants that can grow in your kitchen or garden. This will save you time at the grocery store.
13. Pre-mix your favorite spice combos
Make your own spice combos that you use all year round. Store them in spice jars and store them in a cool place. This can help you save time and money throughout the year.
14. Preheating for turkey and other big meats
Before you turn on your oven for big meats and roasts, have your oven pre-heat at a higher temperature like 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven is ready, put your meat in the oven and then turn your oven down to the right temperature such as 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Because your turkey is cold when putting in your oven, you can actually shock your oven with the coldness and loose the correct temperature making the cooking process longer. By doing this trick, you can start cooking at the correct temperature at the very beginning.
15. Skip carving at the table
It might be your family tradition to have the head of the house carve the turkey at the table before everyone eats. Skip this step and do it in the kitchen. You can be more strategic about your carving and you won't have to worry about knocking anything over at the table or making a big mess.
16. Cook with an Induction Cooktop or Range

Induction cooking heats a pan that is magnetic directly . The technology of heating the metal at a microscopic level can actually make your cooking times 50% faster. Induction also allows you to have more control with your temperatures reducing the risk of over or under cooking. The technology allows you to have cooking more consistent and have the same results every time. The smooth surface is also very easy to clean and you do not have to worry about cleaning cooked-on spills.
17. Cook with a Convection Oven
A convection oven has a fan and exhaust system inside. The fan helps blow the hot air and vent it back out throughout the oven. Because the hot air is getting pushed throughout, your food will cook more evenly and more quickly. You can cook food up to 25% faster than a traditional oven. Because there is new air coming into the oven, it caramelizes the sugars on top faster making the outside brown perfectly when roasting while still keeping the inside nice an moist.
18.  Make Cleaning up easy with your Dishwasher

Once you are done eating your feast, you and your guests will want to relax. One of the big things that you can do before starting to cook is making sure that your dishwasher is empty and ready for the dishes. Have a quiet dishwasher so that after the feast you can run it during your gathering. Your guests will be amazed that it's so quiet, but also it will save you time after the party. You can also do a quick cycle before dessert or use disposal plates for dessert so you don't have to run two different dishwasher cycles.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

6 Signs You Need a New Mattress


People don't really think about it too often, but having a great mattress is crucial for your heath. You spend about one third of your time in your bed sleeping and after a while, it can ware out and you have to replace it. There are other reasons besides the age of your mattress of why you may need to replace it. Take a look at these reasons and if any of these apply to you, it's time to look at getting a new one.

1. Your mattress is old
The normal wear and tear of your mattress can really affect your sleeping without you even realizing it. If your mattress is 8-10 years old, it is time to look at getting a new one. You should also replace your pillows every 2 years as they can cause issues with your health too.

2. You are in pain
If you wake up with aches, numbness, back pain or neck pain this is a crucial signal that you need a new mattress. That old mattress is costing you a good night sleep and  can affect other areas of your health and life.  Even if you don't feel the pain and just wake up feeling  tired and groggy, but you slept 8 or more hours, you probably actually were tossing and turning not getting a full night's sleep. which leads us to our next reason.

3. You toss and turn
If you frequently wake up during the middle of the night and you cannot get comfortable because you toss and turn, it's time to replace it. If you sleep with a partner, you could be also disrupting their sleep making them suffer as well.

4. You have a dent in your bed
If you see any visual signs or can feel signs of lumps and bumps in your mattress, this is a sign that you need a new one. Coils and foam can wear out over time and you lose out on the right support that you need for your spine and the rest of your body.

5. You sleep somewhere else
If you end up sleeping somewhere else like your guest bed , couch, or on the ground while camping can be indications that you need an new mattress. Most people notice this when they travel to visit families and either sleep in a hotel or a guest bed and find that they get better sleep or it feels super comfy.

6. You suffer from asthma or your allergies are acting up
Your mattress can actually attract collect dust, dust mites, pet dander, and more. These allergens can trigger you to sneeze, cough, have a runny nose, scratchy throat, or have itchy or watery eyes that can last weeks. Your mattress can attract and have allergens such as pollen, mold, food, rodents, and more that can trigger asthma symptoms.

Do some research or watch some of our "Pillow Talk with the Mattress King" videos to learn about different mattress and bedding options to improve your sleep and improve your health.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Story of Appliance Factory & Mattress Kingdom - Interview with Chuck Ewing

CEO and owner of Appliance Factory & Mattress Kingdom is Chuck Ewing. He talks about his journey of starting his business and the companies success today. Watch the video to learn how he got started and how you can truly save money buying appliances from Appliance Factory & Mattress Kingdom.



Chuck Ewing at age 25 first started selling music equipment. He one day tried to sell a washer and dryer by putting an ad in the newspaper. The washer and dryer sold much more quickly than music equipment. He first started selling used appliances and focused on the service side of the business.He opened up his first storefront on the early 90s called East Colfax Appliances and started selling crated GE merchandise and then added new boxed appliances.

He changed the name to Appliance Factory Outlet and added offered a couple more brands including Frigidaire, Jenn Air, and more. In 98', Sears opened up the Great Indoors which was a department store catered to home decor and stated that the appliance business is growing. Chuck at this point moved to focusing on the sales side of the business spending 80% of his time on sales and only 20% of the time on service.

He opened up a second store in Colorado Springs and soon had 10 more stores to follow. Once they opened up the store in Grand Junction, he and the business started to learn tons about business operations.

In 2010, the company started to sell mattresses. Chuck noticed that they had extra room in the stores and they wanted to fill it with more inventory and decided that mattresses would be the best option.

The company has grown this year by adding 3 stores in the Midwest making a total of 19 stores in 2019. HH Gregg has closed down some of their stores in the Midwest and had started to go out of business. On the other hand, Appliance Factory is very strong and decided to adventure into the Midwest markets.

Chuck is proud of all the great buys that he can provide to customers. He is running a great quality organization. The company recently did a survey on appliance reviews with the big box stores including Sears, Home Depot, and Best Buy and found that their reviews are very low (1.7 star ratings) compared to Appliance Factory's reviews which are 4.5 star average ratings. This is true evidence that customers are happy with the service from the company.

The company has different divisions including Wholesale Distribution which focuses on the property management industry and Fine Lines which is the builder division specializing in more luxury appliances. With all of the different divisions Appliance Factory has over 500 employees.

Chuck talks about how the appliance business is a stable industry and recession proof. This makes the appliance industry a long term career path. The hardest thing about the appliance industry is getting people in the door. This is why he works with North Media and does different things to advertise. Appliance Factory is the primary sponsor of This Dream House radio show and Colorado's Best Kitchens magazine. They also have a company chef, Celebrity Chef Mark Kalix.

Chuck ends the interview by thanking all of the people in Colorado that have supported and trusted the business over the years. He also thanks all of his employees for all the great work that they do for the company.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Benefits of Steam Clean Dryers & 3 Different Cycles

Steam dryers have some great benefits and should be considered when looking at new machines. Normal dryers use heat to dry clothes and allow the moisture to evaporate out of the clothes.  With the steam option, water is sprinkled into the dryer throughout the cycle in the form of steam. The steam can help reduce wrinkles and remove static  by softening the fabrics . Another great benefit is that steam clean can sanitize fabrics reducing orders and bacteria. There are a couple of different types of steam cleaning and steam can be used in different ways on your fabrics.

Where Does the Steam Come From?
The steam options on dryers either hook up easily to your existing plumbing. For most brands, all you need to do is buy a steam kit and install it. The steam kits usually include a tee connector, a short braided water line, and a longer braided water line.  The steam kit just hooks into the cold water faucet that your washer uses.  Some brands have a water reservoir that you refill before each load. 

3 Types of Steam Cycles
The different manufacturers will call their cycles something different, but these are roughly the different types of steam cycles. Some newer models might even have additional cycles and options.

1. Steam Dewrinkle: This cycle introduces moisture back into the dryer if clothes are wrinkled coming out of the dryer. This is really nice feature to use if you forgot to get the clothes out of the dryer after the cycle is done. You just turn your dryer back on and select this cycle and the steam will get rid of the wrinkles.

2. Steam Refresh: This cycle refreshes clothes. This cycle is used if you wear some clothing for short period of time and you don’t want do a full wash and dry cycle on it before your next use. Just stick it in the dryer and do a quick steam refresh and you are good to go.

3. Steam Sanitize: This cycle is designed to sanitize what can’t be washed. It can be used to sanitize items like pillows, toys, shoes, stuffed animals, and more.

Steam dryers adds more flexibility and options to your laundry needs. There's no need to worry about getting your fabrics freshened up before an important moment in your life with steam drying options.

Monday, October 8, 2018

How to Trick your Washer into Filling with more Water

Kieth is here today to show you an awesome hack with you washer. Some people talk to us about wanting to have more water in the drum when they do a load of laundry. If you have a top load washer, this is a great hack for you.

Before we dive into this hack, lets first talk about the amount of water that your washer uses. Some might think that the washer is not using enough water, but in reality, it probably is using just enough water especially with the new Energy Star High Efficient washers. There are only a few reasons why you would want to add more water to your load. If your cotton fabrics come out dirty or nearly dry straight out of the washer, or if you are washing a big comforter. These are indications that your machine needs more water.



Before you do a load follow these steps to have more water in your washer:
1. Load your washer with the clothes that you want to clean.
2. Pick any cycle and have the drum fill up with water.
3. Drain the water out and leave your clothes in the washer.
4. Turn off the machine and turn it back on.
5. Select the cycle that you would like to run and let the washer complete the cycle.

By following these steps, you have tripped the amount of weight of the clothes by making them wet. The agitator at the bottom scenes the weight and will fill up the washer with water depending on the weight of the clothes.

This hack only works for top load washers and cannot be done with a front load washer. Front load washers have a limit on how much water it can hold and if it goes more than a certain amount it could leak and cause other issues.

Always use the recommended amount of detergent every time.

Other tips that you can do before you add more water to your washer:

  • Have smaller piles of clothes in a cycle to allow more room for the clothes to move around and get clean.
  • Use a more aggressive cleaning cycle like heavy-soil or heavy duty cycles.
  • Try using the steam settings if you have them.
  • Pick a better laundry detergent, but use the recommended amount.
  • Pre-treat tougher stains before putting the clothes in the washer.